Meet My #WriteMentor Mentee Part 3: Katie Bono

My favorite thing about being a writer is giving back to the writing community. When I had a chance to join #WriteMentor, I jumped head first. After scouring queries and manuscripts, I narrowed my selection down to three mentees.

My third and final mentee is Katie Bono. I fell in love with Katie's first chapter about a spunky girl who was determined to make the boys' baseball team no matter the cost. Katie's manuscript has undergone major changes during #WriteMentor, but Katie, much like her main character, Alex, is determined and dedicated and I'm unbelievably proud of the work she's accomplished so far. 

Here's Katie:

Please tell us how you started writing:

I started writing a blog when I was in nursing school as a way to deal with the stress, and I honestly don’t know how I would have survived without it. The act of writing was in itself therapeutic, and going back over what I’d written weeks or months later was a reminder of how far I’d come.

What does your writing process look like? Location? Laptop/pen paper? Preferred drink? Music?

I write after I get my kids to bed. I’m usually sitting at the kitchen table on my laptop, drinking Wild Strawberry Crystal Light, which has enough caffeine to keep me awake for hours. I listen to film scores, most recently The Gladiator and The Shawshank Redemption.

What inspired your #WriteMentor manuscript?

With everything going on in the media over the last year, it seemed like the right time for a book about a tough young woman who won’t let anyone or anything stand in her way.

Why did you enter #WriteMentor?

I entered #WriteMentor because something wasn’t working with my manuscript but I couldn’t figure out what. I needed someone to point me in the right direction, and my mentor, KC, has done a wonderful job of that!

How did you feel when you saw your name on the mentee list?

I was on a family vacation in Florida when the list was released. I had to sneak away to check Twitter, and saw my name wasn’t on there. I was devastated, but returned to my family and tried to enjoy our time on the beach anyway. But I was too upset, and went back inside to commiserate with the other writers I’d met through the contest. I was surprised to see that I had a ton of Twitter notifications, and one was from KC saying she’d picked me too.  I had to reread it a few times to make sure it was real, and I may have cried a bit. Okay, a lot.

Now that we’re deep into revisions, what advice would you give writers who are interested in entering writing contests such as #WriteMentor, #PitchWars, or #AMM?

I would say that they should definitely do it. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, especially if you follow the mentors on Twitter and think everything they tweet is about your manuscript, but it’s worth it. I met my critique partner and several other writer friends through writing contests, and am so thankful for how supportive our writing community is.

What would wild success look like to you? What are your hopes and dreams for your book?

Wild success would be seeing my book in the hands of a young adult reader. I hope that my main character, Alex, inspires other young women to follow their dreams, and not let anything (including their own self doubt) stop them.

Tell us about your manuscript:

Alex is a girl who dreams of playing Major League baseball. Since she was in second grade, she’s had to fight to prove herself to the guys. Now that she’s in high school, she feels that she has to change herself to get those same guys to like her. But she doesn’t like who she’s become, and may lose the things that matter to her the most.

Anything else you’d like to share about yourself or your project?

Although this book is not based on my experiences, I was the only girl to play in my entire baseball league. And I was pretty good, too. ;)

Your story is all about a girl taking down the patriarchy. What do you hope readers—specifically, teenage girls—take away from your manuscript? 

I hope teenage girls take away the confidence to be themselves, and never feel pressured to change who they are to fit someone else’s mold.

Katie Bono is a registered nurse whose blog, Confessions of a Student Nurse, has attracted more than one million views and is listed as suggested reading in the nursing school textbook, AVOIDING COMMON NURSING ERRORS. She lives in Kansas with her husband, Mike, and their children, Jake and Samantha. When not writing, Katie enjoys photography and Jiu Jitsu, and can build a wooden train track able to withstand a Level 4 toddler.

K.C. Karr